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Did you know most business owners fail to consider keyword research when planning their website?
It’s like building a house without a blueprint. You wouldn’t do it, because the project would fail and cost you more in money, time and energy.
The same logic applies to your website.
If you want your business to be found online, there’s more to the puzzle than layout and web copy. Keyword research streamlines your site build, keeps your content on track and your brand in front of your audience. Yet it’s often seen as something that comes into play after design and content. You put your site together, then optimise it.
But keyword research is not an ‘after’ tactic.
When Should You Perform Keyword Research?
Before you start designing your website.
Prioritising keyword research helps map your audience’s journey. When you skip this process (or do it too late), you miss valuable insights about what your users want. Without clear direction, how do match their search query with the appropriate content on your site?
While it’s possible to go back and implement keywords later, you’ll need to reconfigure a lot of the development work already done.
For example; changing the IA (Information Architecture) and setting up redirects. You’ll also miss out on organic traffic, making your website and copy a waste if people aren’t finding it.
Why is Keyword Research Important?
The most obvious benefit of keyword research is it helps people find your business. On a wider scale, it’s important for cutting through the noise.
There are over 3 billion users online. Even if you only wanted to reach 500, you still need a performing website to stand out from the competition – one that’s optimised for your audience and Google.
Keyword research for SEO benefits business owners in the following ways:
Drives Your Marketing Efforts
Keywords give you a deeper understanding of your audience’s behaviour, the type of content they need and how it all fits in the buying funnel.
This allows you to:
- Build a strong digital marketing foundation – social media campaigns and PPC are also keyword-focused
- Boost your content strategy
- Create an ongoing SEO plan focused on your buyer’s intent
- Produce unique, educational and conversational copy, while also identifying content gaps to improve your content
- Avoid writing content blindly
- Satisfy search intent
Increases Leads and Conversions
If your goal is to attract leads and like-minded customers, you have to learn their language. Keyword research helps uncover the words and search terms your audience is using, so you can write specific content for them. This level of targeting maximises your conversation rate because your copy is attracting the right people at every stage of their buying journey.
Keeps Your Business Relevant
Keywords determine what your business is known for.
When you create content relevant to your user’s search intent, you show up higher in the search results making your brand more connected.
- Best answers come first, therefore your content needs to be relevant to rank
- By doing keyword research early, you can analyse what websites are currently ranking and be in a better position to understand your user’s search intent
Allows You to Understand Market and Search Demand
It’s one thing to identify your audience, but unless you recognise how they search too, you won’t be able to create content for them.
Keyword research starts with your target market.
- What problem(s) they are trying to solve
- How they search for these solutions
Once you grasp this, you need to analyse what information you should create to meet their demand and ensure there’s a big enough audience for your efforts. Search demand reveals the estimated search volume (traffic) for your business and industry, which is key to the success of any digital marketing project.
Search queries also tell a story and can provide an endless source of quality content ideas – all of which help you serve your users better.
Every Internet search has a need behind it, even if only informational. Eventually, this need will translate into a transactional search – if your content and products or services fit with the user’s need. At the very least, it’ll keep your business in the forefront of their minds when they’re ready to make a purchase or use your services.
Encourages Organic Search
No matter how valuable your content is – if it’s not optimised or you’re using search terms with no volume, your website won’t perform properly.
You’ll also risk publishing topics with little or no interest to your users, or investing in content creation for search terms that are too competitive. Both are costly mistakes.
4 Quick Keyword Research Tips
There are plenty of tools for keyword research and the search demand process.
1. Know what you’re already ranking for
If you’re updating your website, find what keywords you already rank for so you can find new related search terms to target.
You can use tools like Google Search Console, SEMRush, UberSuggest and Keyword Planner (Google AdWords).
2. Use long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are made up of three to five words. Now Google places more emphasis on semantic search, keywords have evolved from words to phrases. Semantic search allows users to search entire sentences to find what they’re looking for. Look at questions people are asking online and consider longer phrases.
For example: ‘best photographer near me’ over ‘Perth photographer’.
3. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes
The only way to satisfy the needs of your customers is to think like them. Understand the context behind their search queries and you unlock content ideas to solve their problems with.
For example: ‘eco coffee pods’ or ‘stainless steel coffee pods’ give more context over ‘coffee pods’.
4. Combine keyword research with competitor research
Study websites within your industry and see if there are relevant search terms you could use. You can manually search for keywords by viewing the source code or Ahrefs and UberSuggest allows limited free reports to see how your competitors are positioning. Use competitor research to identify any content gaps too.
As a general rule of thumb, you should revisit your content and SEO strategy every 6-12 months. It’s not a one time deal, because the needs of users are constantly shifting. Make sure you monitor your site and look for changes in search behaviour each month.
Not sure where to start? Get in touch to learn more.
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